The following story was created by forcing myself to include ideas that people posted in a Facebook thread. These ideas are as follows:
- A teddy bear that went to Mars
- Infinite Wolves
- A girl who has access to nuclear weapons
- Sand worms from Dune
- A talking zebra lost in a maze made of pancakes and bacon
- A 69 Pontiac GTO Judge with a 451 stroker
This was the best I could do.
"Is everything alright?"
The father pushed open the door to his son's room, and found him sitting on his bed staring into the night sky through his window.
"Can't sleep," he said.
"Why can't sleep?"
The son looked down at the ground, his hands rubbed up and down the thighs of his pajama pants.
"I'm worried about Teddy," he said.
The father pursed his lip and sat down on the bed, wrapping his arm around his son.
"You chose to give her up when you won that contest, remember? You could give the astronauts anything to take with them on their trip to Mars, and you picked Teddy. Don't you remember how happy you were when I told you that you won? Where's that smile now?"
The son started to lean back and forth, lightly bumping the side of his father every couple seconds.
"But now I don't know if Teddy wanted to go. I don't know if she'll like it up there on Mars."
"I'm sure she will."
The son crossed his arms.
"You don't even know Teddy."
"Hey, hey, that's not fair. I know Teddy, and I know she'll enjoy Mars."
"Yes, because... because I'll tell you why. Because Teddy is a dreamer."
"Yeah. You know how her eyes are kind of always... unfocused. Like she's not really looking at things, but looking past them instead? That's because she doesn't see stuff for what it is, but for what it could be. She saw with her imagination and her dreams, and those little plastic eyes of hers saw what so many others can't. A dreamer like her would love exploring Mars."
"I... guess," said the child, now idly fidgeting with one of his fingers, "but I still don't know what's happening to her, or what's gonna happen."
The father looked around the room, taking a second to examine each object until his eyes lingered on the bookshelf filled with comics.
"I do," he finally said, "You know all those books I try to get you to read? With all the sciences and the math that you keep pretending to look at while you're actually checking out comics? That's right, you don't fool me. Well, while you've been avoiding them, I've still been reading them. From them I know everything there is to know about Mars, and I know exactly what Teddy ran into."
The son stopped looking at the floor, and was now staring eagerly at his father. He climbed into his lap.
"Tell me, tell me!"
"Okay, okay. Well, how I see it is first Teddy got off the ship. The rest of the astronauts started to do their thing, but Teddy decided instead to find some adventure. So she wandered off into the red hills until after about five minutes she walked into a giant pack of-"
"Uh, yes, a giant pack of Martian Turtles! There were literally thousands of these things marching in a long line fifty turtles thick which seemed to span endlessly in either direction. Turtles to her left, and turtles to her right, and no way to get over them. The path to Teddy's adventure was completely blocked."
The son's big cheery smile turned to a subtle frown and he looked back to the ground.
"But..." continued the father, "Teddy is a dreamer. Teddy... Teddy understands that just because she can't go the way she wanted doesn't mean her journey's over. She can see that past that, and instead of beating herself up over it she accepts it. She climbed onto the back of one of the turtles and rode, letting them take her in a direction she never expected to go.
"So on she went a few hours through the exotic martian landscape until she saw a strange looking cave in one of the dunes. She climbed off the turtle and said 'Thank you', as everyone should do when someone helps them, and headed toward it.
"But when she got close, she heard some growling coming from inside. She got a little scared and backed off, but before she got far a bunch of wolves ran out of the cave. These weren't just any old wolves, they were angry martian-"
"Ha, yes! Angry martian pirate wolves! Each had an eyepatch and large cutlass which they waved fiercely at poor Teddy!"
"What's a cutlass?"
"It's like a sword thing."
Upon hearing this the son became very frightened, and held onto his father.
"Teddy ran as fast as she could, but they were starting to catch up to her. But Teddy, as I said, was a dreamer. She began to cry out for help, because even though she was surrounded by enemies without a hope in sight, a dreamer... a dreamer knows that even in the darkest of places, where maybe there's a lot of bad people around, there's got to be some good hidden somewhere. And she was right, because one of the pirate wolves began to feel guilty, for Teddy's screams had touched what little was left of his heart. So that wolf stood up, screamed at the other pirate wolves and said,
""No! Not this time!"
"He raised his sword and fought the other pirates, distracting them while Teddy escaped. She kept running until the sounds of clashing metal could no longer be heard.
"Unfortunately, in her haste, Teddy had accidentally wandered into the most convoluted maze in all of Mars. It was a maze made of, well, what was it made of?"
"Yes, a maze made out of pancakes."
"Ah, ha! That's absolutely correct. So you have been paying some attention to those books. And here I was, a father of little faith."
The son smiled.
"Well at first Teddy was absolutely in love with the maze. She ate away at the walls, covering her fur in thick sticky syrup and relishing in the fact she didn't have to care if anyone saw her eat like a slob. Not that she forgot that when other people were around, she had to have good manners. Regardless, after eating her way through a couple walls she felt really sick and icky. Sometimes having all the food you want whenever you want isn't as good as it seems. She was tired, and now just really wanted to find her way out of the maze. She wandered for hours feeling lost until she saw a zebra wandering as well.
"She ran up to the zebra, desperate for help, and asked him how to escape. The zebra turned to her and said,
""You can't escape. Now you're like me, stuck in here forever with so much food it makes you sick."
""But I really want to go home!" yelled Teddy, frightened by the zebras words.
""That's too bad," the zebra said, "because like everyone else here you'll never see your home again."
"The zebra walked off without another word. I know you probably think Teddy was getting pretty depressed about what was going on, but she wasn't. Do you know why?"
The son was looking pretty shaken by the stories dark turn, but after a moment's thought his eyes opened wide and he exclaimed:
"Because Teddy is a dreamer!"
"Yes! And a dreamer sees more than what's there. To the zebra, the pancake bacon walls were a prison, but Teddy knew that she could define them however she wanted. She dug into sugary hedges and built himself a small little bacon igloo to spend the night. Teddy understood that her home was anywhere her heart was, no matter what it was made of or what anyone else said. Do you understand?"
The son nodded.
"Good. Because with that Teddy held onto what all the others stuck in the maze lost: hope. With it, and dedication, she would eventually find her way out."
The father padded his son on the back, and laid him back down on the bed.
"Is that the end of the story, Dad?"
"But what about after Teddy makes it out and she has to fight a bunch of evil gigantic sand worms! What then!"
The father tried to avert the gaze of his son, which held such levels of expectancy that it made him uncomfortable.
"Well, luckily for Teddy she had an extremely explosive nuclear bomb on her, which she threw at the evil sandworms. With the same roar as the engine of a 69 Pontiac GTO Judge with a 451 Stroker, it exploded and blew all the sandworms to bits! She taught them that she was a force to be reckoned with."
The son frowned.
"But... but Teddy is a dreamer."
"And every other time she didn't need anything else to win or get by."
The father was unsure how to continue, so his son did instead.
"Is sometimes being a dreamer not enough?"
The father frowned. He knelt down and started tucking his son in.
"Look, it's late and you need to get to sleep. We have a big day tomorrow. Remember I told you about the men who are coming?"
"The rapo men?"
"Err... close, but yes. They're going to, well, take away some of the stuff that we don't really need in the first place. Then, whatever's left afterward me and you have to pack up into the moving truck. It's going to be a lot of work so you need sleep."
The son pulled up on the blankets, wiggled around to get comfortable, and turned on his side to face his father.
"Is the new house going to be just as big as this house?"
The father paused.
"For tonight, just think of Teddy okay? Remember what I told you about her story, and try not to worry about her or anything else."
The father stood up and turned off the lights. He said one last thing that night before he finally closed the door.
"And try to have some nice dreams."